A Customer Service Reality Check

Thanks to social media outlets, your business is now at the mercy of public opinion. With the stroke of a few keys, thousands of potential customers are able to read comments both good and bad about your business. With that being said, superior customer service is now more important than ever! I recently came across an interesting article, “Only You Can Prevent Cringe-Worthy Customer Service,” which outlines a list of customer service “must dos”. Is customer service at the top of your business’ to do list?

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THE REVOLUTION OF THE RETAIL INDUSTRY

I recently came across an interesting article entitled,”Retailing Revolution: Category Killers on the Brink,” which discusses the rapid changes occurring in the retail industry due to both the lack of customer spending as a result of the economy as well as the impact e-commerce has had on the way customers shop.

What are your predictions for the retail industry’s future?

How To Be A Great Ring Leader

Having a successful business usually isn’t a one man show. It takes the joint efforts of a great team to help ensure business runs smoothly. I recently came across an article entitled, 10 Secrets of Successful Leaders, which highlights essential qualities entrepreneurs need in order to better lead their employees. You as the entrepreneur have the vision for your business, it’s up to you to efficiently guide your staff to make your vision a reality.

Thank You Steve Jobs….

Yesterday, we lost one of our generation’s most brillant and innovative entreprenuers, Steve Jobs. Jobs revolutionized not only the tech industry, but the way many of us go about our daily lives. Today, I read, Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address, which so eloquently gave not only that graduating class a blue print for living their lives, but also spoke words of encourage and inspiration to all aspiring entrepreneurs to continue striving for greatness. Thank you Steve Jobs for all of your contributions, your influence will inspire many generations to come.

Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do“-Steve Jobs

Discounts…Bad For Business?

I am constantly thinking of promotions and marketing ideas to attract new customers to Lincoln Court. One way, which seemed a no brainer, is to offer store discounts to incentivize potential customers to visit the center; thinking once a customer visits one of our stores they will of course return… or will they? Recently, I came across an article entitled “The Dark Side of Discounts”, which discusses the negative connotations customers place on products and services that are discounted. The article shows that while discounts aren’t inherently bad they must have a purpose and be used with caution.

Are you a business owner, we would love to hear your experience with providing discounts.

Lincoln Court Spotlight: Chelsea’s Tea Room & Boutique

Today we had the exciting opportunity to interview Jackie Andrews, Owner of Chelsea’s Tea Room & Boutique located in the Lincoln Court Shopping Center in Arlington, Texas. Jackie has raved to us about her experience using Groupon to promote her business. She had such positive results, that we asked her to share with us her experience advertising on the “Deal Of The Day” website.

For those of you who aren’t already familiar with Groupon, it is a “deal of the day” website that features deeply discounted deals on the best stores, restaurants, services and activities in your city. By promising businesses a guaranteed minimum number of purchases, Groupon is able to secure unbelievable deals! Sounds like a win-win for both the customer and the business owner!

Q: What products and services do you provide at Chelsea’s Tea Room & Boutique?
• Children’s clothing, gifts and toys
• Princess Dress-up Tea Parties
• Mother Daughter Teas

Q: How long have you been in business?
July 1st 2011 marked 20 years

Q: Who is your typical customer?
New mommies to grand mommies

Q: What forms of advertisement have you found to be most successful in reaching potential customers?
Word of mouth and just recently Groupon

Q: What has been your experience either good or bad with Groupon?
All good. The representatives were very helpful. I really liked the statistics that they give you at the end, average age, gender and location, all helpful marketing tools. For my Tea it was of course young moms, but what I found interesting was how far they were traveling. Frisco, Plano and Southlake were big buyers for the Groupon.

Q: Given Groupon’s premise of providing the consumer with huge discounts, many small business owners may not feel the publicity they receive from Groupon justifies the small profit margin. How were you able to overcome this obstacle?
I think Groupons are best for a service provider. A small profit margin yes, but only if a customer walks in your door. Other forms of advertising has no such guarantee.

Q: Were most of the people who purchased your Groupon voucher old customers excited to receive a deep discount on their favorite product/service or new customers unfamiliar with your business?
I would say both.

Q: As far as the new customers, have any become repeat customers after using Groupon?
Yes. They came in for a Princess Tea and booked for a Birthday Party and Princess Glamour Camp. And it was fun to get the great feedback on our boutique’s selection and great pricing.

Q: What is the process for a small business owner to get their products featured on Groupon?
Groupon’s website has all the information needed.

Q: Is there any advice you would give to a small business owner interested in trying Groupon?
For all service providers… do it. If featuring a product they can put a cap on how many items can be sold.

Are you a small business owner that has also used Groupon to advertise your business? Please leave a comment and tell us your experience.

Helpful Hints On How To Respond to Disgruntled Facebook Fans

Social Media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter are great tools to allow businesses to stay in direct contact with their customers. However, what to do when a customer uses these same media outlets to post complaints about your products or services? Not to worry, I recently came across a blog post from Social Media Examiner, entitled “7 Tips For Dealing With Upset Facebook Fans“, which addresses how to professionally respond to disgruntled fans and customers.

What has been your experience with dealing with angry customers? Please leave a comment below!